On 14 May the European Court of Justice (ECJ) issued an important ruling that effectively requires Member States to establish rules for employers to record their employees' working time. In a case about overtime brought against Deutsche Bank by the FS-CCOO services federation in Spain, the ECJ stated that workers' rights to protection as afforded by the Working Time Directive cannot be properly ensured unless there is an objective measure of their working hours. The Court said it is up to Member States how they ensure that employers comply with the ruling.
Key ruling on working time
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In a significant new judgement (Matzak, C-519/15), the European Court of Justice (ECJ) has ruled that standby time away from the workplace may be counted as working time. In previous rulings the ECJ has said that on-call time at work should be counted as working time but normally if a worker is on standby away from the workplace this would not count as working time as they are not at the disposal of the employer. In the Matzak case involving a Belgian firefighter the Court found that the requirement to be at the workplace within eight minutes imposed a restriction on how the worker spent his
(March 2017) The vpod public services union says that unions need to resist proposals from a national commission for further deregulation of working time. The union warns that it the commission's recommendations are implemented this will lead to more overtime, more night work and more Sunday working. Vpod has also attacked the idea that certain categories of senior managers and specialists should be exempt from working time rules.
The vida and GPA-djp service unions have broken off negotiations with the Red Cross because they feel their demands are falling on deaf ears. The unions want to see improvements in the collective agreement to bring it in line with comparable agreements with similar employers in the sector. Key demands include a five-day working week as standard, more leave, improvements in relation to split shifts and better allowances for Sunday and night working. They also want to see national approaches to paid breaks and allowances for children rather than different rules in different regions.